It's the best piece of news I've heard from the recording industry in yonks: Decca has announced that it has signed Benjamin Grosvenor, the 18-year-old British pianist, to an exclusive contract. It's not a moment too soon. Benjamin is one of the finest talents I have ever come across, bar none: a pianist whose musical instincts are so profound, so natural and so right-sounding that he leaves you wondering why not everyone else plays like that too.
He is the first British pianist to be signed to Decca in 40 years (their last ones were Clifford Curzon, Moura Lympany and Peter Katin) and their youngest artist in history. He'll be making his first Decca disc this spring and it will be released in July, featuring Chopin's Four Scherzi, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit and short works by Chopin and Liszt. He's still studying at the Royal Academy with Christopher Elton, but the country's never forgotten his astonishing performance, aged 11, in the final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition (when Nicola Benedetti won - and rightly so, as 11 is just too young!), or the insights offered in the TV programme Imagine that was devoted to him soon afterwards. Now he has, literally, come of age. Here's the article I wrote about him in The Independent last year.
Nice one, Decca. Hang in there, Benjamin.